By sheer coincidence, both my official assignment and the treat I hadn’t planned on writing are historicals – of a sort, since they aren’t direct historical fiction but fanfiction of historical (pro) fiction, so to speak. They even overlap in time, place and setting, while dealing with entirely different characters (and their interpretation). To wit: one – the unexpected treat – is having a go at Shakespeare’s history plays. Now I absolutely agree that the Hollow Crown ‘s production of Henry V. was the weakest of the HC productions, but by letting Falstaff’s page, referred to only as “Boy” in the play, survive into the John-Hurt-played Chorus (this is the final reveal of the HC Henry V), it gave me a fanon idea which I haven’t been able to dislodge from my brain since, to wit, that Falstaff’s page is, in fact, none other than Owen Tudor, aka that adventurous Welshman who got together with Henry V’s widow, had several children by her and thus without intending to ended up founding a new dynasty. (His grandson was the first to make it to the throne; everyone’s least favourite wife killing monarch was Owen’s great-grandson.) After I had kidded around with likeadeuce about this a couple of times, she ended up requesting it for Yuletide, and well, how could I not? Especially since, thinking about the premise further, it occurred to me that if Owen Tudor = Falstaff’s Page, it meant he’s also the sole surviving character of the Henriad to have experienced both Prince Hal living it up at the taverns and Henry V. winning Agincourt. He’d have had a front row seat at the Falstaff/Hal relationship and ended up living with Henry’s Queen for fifteen years. He even got old enough to see the Wars of the Roses start and thus lead into the next quartet of history plays.
When this occurred to me, I also knew which form my story would have, to wit, it would be Owen, on the eve of his execution, talking to the man he’d known both as Hal and as Henry. Whether he’s chatting with an actual ghost here (it’s Shakespeare fanfic, after all) or just having an inner monologue is up to you, dear reader. Owen – spelt the Welsh way, Owain, because I can – was great fun to find a voice for, which helped me overcome my inhibitions at tackling the Bard’s characters.
Gentlemen of the Shade (3155 words) by Selena
Fandom: Henry V - Shakespeare, Henry IV - Shakespeare, The Hollow Crown (2012), Shakespeare - History Plays, 15th Century CE RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Owain ap Maredudd ap Tewdwr | Owen Tudor/Catherine de Valois, Sir John Falstaff/Prince Hal (Shakespeare), Sir John Falstaff & Owen Tudor, Henry V of England & Owen Tudor, Catherine of Valois/Henry V
Characters: Boy (Henry V), Owain ap Maredudd ap Tewdwr | Owen Tudor, Prince Hal (Shakespeare), Henry V of England, Sir John Falstaff, Catherine of Valois Queen of England, Fluellen (Henry V), Nym (Henry V), Pistol (Shakespeare)
Additional Tags: Ambiguous Relationships, Agincourt, Character Study, Messy, Yuletide, Yuletide 2016
In which Falstaff's page has a chat with the late Henry V. about shared bed fellows (plural), accidentally founds a dynasty and changes the course of English history.
Meanwhile, when offering fandoms I was ready to write for, I included Sharon Penman’s novel The Sunne in Splendour, which deals with the Wars of the Roses from a distinctly Yorkist and Ricardian pov. Now The Sunne in Splendour is a novel I’d read for the first time when I was 20 or 21. And I fell in love instantly. Decades later, I freely concede its flaws to anyone grumbling about them – the pseudo medieval language at times (which Penman ditched in later novels), Richard as the hero is verging on too good to be true ness, a bit odd pov choices (Penman is prone to include more than necessary every time), etc. But. But. The reasons why I loved it so much in my early 20s to begin with are still there. Penman’s great with the family dynamics of both the Plantagenets and the Nevilles. She was the first author I’d read who does more with Edward IV than “playboy king”, and her version is still the most interesting Edward of them all to me, just as her Elizabeth Woodville is my favourite Elizabeth Woodville (way more interesting than Philippa Gregory’s who is meant to be the heroine, btw). The Edward and Richard dynamic pushes my button for sibling relationships. I love that while being pro York, her pov chapters for various Lancastrians – Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset, and Marguerite d’Anjou herself – makes them not just human but sympathetic. (Yes, Marguerite is a villain from Yorkist pov chapters, but not in her own, and not in a villainous monologue way, either.) Her solution to the “What happened to the Princes?” mystery makes sense to me. And I still can’t get through the last chapters without crying.
Now, my recipient’s request for this story was that she wanted more about the Richard/Anne relationship, with Richard and Anne being supportive of each other, the way they are in the novel. (She also suggested maybe the wedding and subsequent nights fleshed out, but I can’t write sex. Truly, I suck at it, and not in the fun way. So emotional exploration it was.) Well, the Richard/Anne relationship is of course pretty central in the novel and thus already well covered by Penman, BUT remember those odd pov choices? One of them is that we don’t get Anne Neville’s until after she’s widowed the first time (before that, she’s described from either Francis Lovell’s, or her sister Isabella’s), and Richard’s only intermittently, and not at all at what must have been turning points for the relationship. Which gave me something to work with in a missing scenes & alternate pov kind of way. It also provided me with a friends-to-lovers arc, and the challenge I gave myself, to write the development of the Richard and Anne relationship in a way that I hoped would work both for readers of The Sunne in Splendour and for people who haven’t read a word of the novel but are interested in the era.
Still: it’s meant to be a Penman derived fanfiction, and thus I was of course bound to her narrative choices (Anne’s first marriage: not a happy event, to put it mildly), including her choices of (nick)names. (Or full names; that Anne is the only one in their families close to Richard who doesn’t call him “Dickon” but “Richard” is important in the novel, and of course I stuck with it.)
Below is the result: Plantagenets, Penman edition.
Troth (9410 words) by Selena
Fandom: The Sunne in Splendour - Sharon Kay Penman, 15th Century CE RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Anne Neville Queen of England/Richard III of England, Anne Neville Queen of England & Richard Neville Earl of Warwick, Edward IV of England & Richard III of England, Richard III of England & Richard Neville Earl of Warwick, Edward of Lancaster | Prince of Wales/Anne Neville Queen of England
Characters: Anne Neville Queen of England, Richard III of England, Edward IV of England, Richard Neville Earl of Warwick, Edward of Lancaster | Prince of Wales, George Plantagenet Duke of Clarence, Isabel Neville, Marguerite d'Anjou | Margaret of Anjou
Additional Tags: Missing Scene, Dysfunctional Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship/Love, Regicide, Yuletide, Yuletide 2016
Four times the relationship between Anne Neville and her cousin Richard Plantagenet changed, and yet remained the same.